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James Wilson Whatley


1940 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
James Wilson Whatley Obituary
Whatley, James Wilson
truly defined the words "a good man." He lived a very full, unconventional and rewarding life until he unexpectedly passed at age 76 on October 4, 2016 in Phoenix. Quiet, unassuming and extremely considerate of others, James was a true godsend to those in need. When someone contacted him he would patiently listen to their travails, and afterwards calmly tell them, no matter how dire their story was, "There is nothing to worry about, or fear. You are safe now." He would then take them under his wing, giving spiritual and personal guidance, and unconditional love. He firmly believed there was good-and a purpose or lesson-in every situation. His decades-long journey into becoming what he called a "spiritualist" who served others was anything but straightforward. Born on August 22, 1940 in San Angelo, Texas into a life of financial hardship, James' biological father abandoned the family when James was just a baby. The family subsequently moved to California when James was two, and because of their meager means, during his youth James became the consummate tinkerer and handyman, abilities that gleefully remained with him for life. He entered the army in his young 20s, was stationed in Europe, and long appreciated a number of skills the military taught him. Upon return to civilian life he held jobs in a variety of industries, and discovered he preferred to be his own boss. He would own several businesses over the years but found proprietorship unfulfilling; it was as if he was searching for a greater purpose to life, so he turned to religion for guidance and answers. His quest lasted many years and he became a student of numerous faiths, constantly reading and inquiring to learn more.
None really provided what he saw as "the truth," so in his late 30s he found his calling as a spiritualist-a medium who is extremely sensitive to things beyond the normal range of perception. With that realization, his life-and the lives of many others-was truly transformed. Those close to James said he was the most intuitive, insightful and compassionate person they knew. Though James was of modest means, when someone sought help or guidance he wholeheartedly assisted them whether they had money or not, and sometimes put them up at his home for as long as they needed. Friends and relatives were astounded by his insights and ability to predict future events, for no matter how outlandish, they would often happen. A favorite story was that of a young woman going through very hard times; James took her under his wing, and told her that she would soon be serenaded by a man holding a rose in his mouth. Months later a singing helicopter pilot came into her life, and he did indeed serenade her with that rose, clenched teeth and all! They ended up happily married, and had three daughters. At James' memorial in October, praise, love and admiration for the man was universal. "He was the most sympathetic and nonjudgmental person I ever met," was how a close friend described him. "He lived in the physical world but had this gift, a true connection with things most people can't sense or see." James loved corny jokes, and always seemed to have a twinkle in his eye, as if he knew something the rest didn't. Towards the end of his life he called himself "The Messenger 444," the numbers meaning that angels were surrounding you, so help was nearby. Those who repeatedly saw him humbly work his "magic" with people in need firmly believed they were. At the memorial a medium friend noted, "His spirit is now so elevated that he won't be coming back to earth." Whether one believes in such things or not, to those who were blessed to experience his humanity, humility and generosity, those words ring very true.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Nov. 20, 2016
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